Day Two Highlights from the World Summit on Counter Terrorism

48756-ConferencePJMedia, By Patrick Poole:

Some interesting and provocative discussions during Day 2 of the in Herzliya, Israel (my Day 1 overview is here). Some of the highlights from the second day of proceedings:

A report released at the conference announced an estimate that the Assad regime in Syria has 1,000 tons of chemical weapons.

Syracuse professor William Banks offered his assessment, in line with one offered the previous day, that while the Syrian regime may have violated international law with the use of chemical weapons (even though they are not a signatory to the chemical weapons convention), the remedies do not include the use of force, much as President Obama is proposing.

Qanta Ahmed warned against the virulence of Islamist ideology, claiming it was more dangerous than nuclear weapons, and stressed the importance of moderate Muslims unmasking the “wolves in sheeps’ clothing,” i.e., so-called “moderate” Islamists.

Undoubtedly the most lively discussion of the day involved Canadian columnist and author Tarek Fatah. During his speech, which you can see in the clip below, he notes that missing from much of the debate over the use of chemical weapons by Syria, and even Iran’s budding nuclear program, is that Pakistan already possesses 100+ nuclear weapons.

Fatah also added that two of the top Islamic partners in the “war on terror,” Turkey and Pakistan, are among the biggest purveyors of the jihadist ideology we are confronting globally (Saudi Arabia could also be added to that list).

Brian Jenkins of RAND Corp noted the diminishing effectiveness of strikes aimed at decapitating terrorist organizations. According to his research, a terrorist group that suffers decapitation in the first year of its existence is 8.5 times more likely to disintegrate than if the leadership continues; after 10 years existence, that rate is cut in half; by 20 years (al-Qaeda would fall in this category) the effect of a leadership decapitation strike is negligible.

Jenkins also added that it appears the West is headed towards a permanent state of war with Islamic terrorism.

King’s College professor Peter Neumann said that the number of foreign jihadist fighters traveling to Syria is higher than any other conflict previously seen, which will pose a considerable threat to Western countries down the road.

Former FBI and Treasury official Matt Levitt talked about his new book on the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. He noted that many Hezbollah plots have a U.S. nexus.

Levitt also predicted that regardless of who comes out on top in Syria (Hezbollah is actively fighting on behalf of the Iranian-backed Assad regime), Hezbollah will come out the loser. Gone is their status as “freedom fighters” now that they are waging widespread warfare outside of their own country, severely damaging their credibility.

Thomas Hegghammer from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment reported that there are 4,000-5,000 foreign fighters now operating in Syria. He also added that despite much of the jihadist activity around the world, the threats to Western countries — including the U.S. — are still primarily coming out of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy offered the most provocative thesis of the day, saying that “there has to be a revolution in law and jurisprudence” when it comes to terrorism. In the clip below, he says that rather than having government continuing to run to the courts to see what judges will allow, the process needs to be reversed, with governments telling judges and courts what results are needed and leaving it to the courts to find a way to get there:

I will be traveling to the Syrian border by the Golan Heights tomorrow, missing the last day of the conference. But I’ll be providing a report following that trip.

p

IPT Video: Islamists Stigmatizing Their Critics

IPT News
August 28, 2013

“Grand Deception” Documentary by Steven Emerson Racks Up Film Festival Honors

IPT News
May 17, 2013

Additional clips from can be seen here.

Media Jihad and The Grand Deception

Snapz-Pro-XScreenSnapz2426by IPT News:

American journalists have been “subdued” when it comes to reporting on Islamic radicalization, “largely by intimidation and the fear of accusations of Islamophobia –[which] is the Islamists’ greatest coup,” Muslim physician and writer Qanta Ahmed argues in a new column.

She points to Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson’s new documentary, “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” for examples about radical connections and ideals espoused by national Islamist groups that are ignored by the media.

“‘The Grand Deception’ exposes radical Islamists in their own words,” Ahmed writes, something “shattering to any Muslim in America – and is exactly why our communities invite unwanted scrutiny. In their own voices, American Islamists demand violent jihad against the United States.”

The documentary has impressed other viewers, with Orange County Register editorial writer Rory Cohen calling it a “must see” for showing “how far the Muslim Brotherhood has reached within our own political fabric in less than three decades.”

But media coverage fails to show the diversity of ideas and beliefs held by Muslims in America, Ahmed writes, noting adherents to 70 sects and people with roots in nearly as many countries. There’s a “battle for America’s Muslim narrative” that the media fails to recognize and cover.

“If only the media paid the same scrutiny to such data as to that gathered by the IPT in The Grand Deception … we would greatly advance the public debate. It’s time to emerge from our torpor. Refusing to debate these issues, however uncomfortable or intimidating, is a grand deception indeed, one which we accomplish at our own hand and our own peril.”

Read her whole column here. Learn more about the film “The Grand Deception” here.

Israel’s jihad is mine

Qanta Ahmed

Qanta Ahmed

IPT:

by Qanta Ahmed Times of Israel January 10, 2013

As Israel considers building a new fence to contain the Syrian conflict to the north, which fences can keep out Hamas’s even more lethal ideologies? While Gaza and the Muslim Arab world continue to claim victory in the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, for the sane observers among us, there is only ever defeat – the defeat of morality in the desecration of a great religion. While most Muslims laud Hamas and scorn Israel, for me, an observing Muslim, Israel’s war against Hamas remains my struggle – my jihad.

Israel’s eight-day operation “Pillar of Defense” sought to dismantle the Hamas apparatus from within Gaza. The predictably seamless alignment of the Muslim world against Israel was even more breathtaking than usual in the face of Syria’s 22 months of systematic genocide, one which has consistently failed to trigger unanimous Muslim protest. What does this say about us as Muslims?

We are hypocrites.

While Muslims define Israel as the enemy, we ignore Assad, and diabolically laud Hamas. Hamas is never sated – each year it devours ever more Palestinians, regardless of age or gender. If Israelis lose fewer citizens than the Palestinians in these conflicts it is for the same reason Israel exchanges more prisoners for each captive soldier: quite simply Israel values human life more than does Hamas, which relishes ground operations taking place among densely populate civilian areas.

Explaining this to Muslims in the Twitterverse, I get sharply reminded that Hamas does not have the “luxury of launch sites” that Israel enjoys. Have we lost our minds, Muslims? How can we speak of ‘launch sites’ as ‘luxuries’ while disregarding the culling taking place in Syria? Perhaps we have not lost our minds, but we have most certainly lost our religion.

As I am not one to speak for others, allow me to let Hamas speak for themselves. They are bald-faced about their mission, seeking glory through death, annunciation through annihilation:

We are ready to offer 1,000, 2,000 or even 10,000 martyrs every year. We are ready to keep offering martyrs for twenty years because we are sure we are moving in the right direction and that we will prevail in the end” (Hamas leader Khalid Al Mish’al in Gaza”

To Hamas, a Palestinian life is worth more when “martyred,” a dead child more of a blessing than one living. “The children of the kindergarten are the shaheeds [martyrs] of tomorrow,” reads a sign displayed at a Hamas-run kindergarten. The martyrdom mantra is their anthem.

While observers speculate Hamas will shortly usurp the crumbling Fatah leadership and ideologically annex the West Bank, we must remember Hamas’ raison d’etre: Islamist nihilism, a totalitarian ideology, jet-fueled on the language and images stolen from mighty Islam. Israeli negotiators who must engage with this opponent are walking on the sharp-edged sword of Damocles and unlike Muslims, the Israelis certainly know it.

Coloring their fascism with Islam, Hamas claims religious legitimacy to openly seek destruction of the Jewish state and eradication of the Jewish people. By grafting themselves onto Into Islamic ideals – the vertebral column of that which is most sacred to Muslims – they render Islam itself heinous, representing their true ruthlessness: theirs is a willingness to sacrifice anything –including Islam – to portray Israel as evil.

This ethos was captured in a single unprecedented obscenity: Hamas’ morbid motorcade. Cocksure thugs, defiantly cruising on motorcycles trailed exposed cadavers of Palestinians – Muslim men – trousers pooled at dead ankles. To chants of ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ as dozens of Palestinian onlookers silently watched, Hamas took its ghoulish victory lap explicitly to show Gazans how they execute ‘suspected informers to Israel’. This is the Islam of Hamas.

This is why Hamas does not represent me, or other believing Muslims. This is why Israel’s battle is mine. This is why Israel’s struggle – Israel’s jihad – is mine. These are the ‘Muslims’ that Israelis must confront and these are the “Muslims” who intimidate innocent Palestinians into subjugation to their monstrous political Islamism.

But we Muslims in particular, more than conflict-hardened Israelis, should hardly be surprised, for it was Muslims who were once forewarned of scourges such as Hamas.

The Prophet Mohammed (SAW) was once asked what he most feared for his followers. Centuries later, his response, recorded in the hadith, haunts, stating he feared those who:

…Interpret verses of the Qur’an out of context…A people that recite Qur’an….but it will not go past their throats, a people with excellent words and vile deeds. They will pass through the religion (of Islam) like the arrow passes through its quarry. They will no more come back to the religion than the arrow will come back to its course. They are the worst of human beings and the worst of all creation. They summon to the book of Allah, but they have nothing to do with it. Whoever kills them is closer to Allah than they.

This is the true nature of Hamas, which recites the Quran yet doesn’t hold it in their hearts, that “summon to the book of Allah but have nothing to do with it.” By the above, it would seem the IDF (that eliminates Hamas) is surely closer to Allah than Hamas.

Yet instead of condemning Hamas, and recognizing them as imposters among us, the Muslim world celebrates them, even as Hamas violates the most profound Islamic principle: the sanctity of life, a right man must protect even in preference to any rights God claims from man.

When Muslims support Hamas, we support no less than the signatories to Islam’s collective extinction. Muslim support renders Hamas legitimate, their methods acceptable, their ideals valid. Our support as Muslims is their lifeblood. In supporting them, we hemorrhage our only currency, our only asset – our great monotheism.

Two years into the Arab Awakening, the freshly turned soil is ripe for the seeding. Hamas operatives everywhere are already celebrated as ‘liberators’ of Gazans, when they have actually long been their jailers, ‘victors’ over Israel, when Hamas is the personal death knell of all pluralism in the region. Gazans so recently celebrating in the street are no more than hostages afflicted with the worst Stockholm Syndrome imaginable, heading to their own death through their misplaced hope in their virulently Islamist leadership.

During Operation Pillar of Defense, Jewish friends said “this must be such a difficult time for you, but I am glad of our friendship” implying that because I am Muslim, my loyalty must surely be to Gaza, my enmity automatically aligned with Israel.

Not so. As a Muslim, I am clear: my loyalty is with Islam, and therefore explicitly with justice, justice for all humanity, a humanity that must include Jews. Hamas is obscenely unjust, so how can my loyalty be with them? To be loyal to Hamas is no less than to abandon Islam. To be loyal to Hamas is the ultimate blasphemy.

While I understand the need for Israeli negotiators to engage with Hamas first to secure the current ceasefire and then for some sort of functional peace, the reality is their militant ideology must be suffocated out of existence or else the détente is little more than an illusion. For this, unlike for suicide bombers or Syrian rockets, there are no Israeli fences or walls, no Iron Domes, only Muslim barriers – robust barriers of counter-ideology.

It is Muslims who must take the first steps to excoriate Hamas, to expose them as the ruthless nihilists they explicitly announce themselves to be. We must scorn Hamas for masquerading among the poor as their savior when they are instead their executioner. Muslims must hold all media accountable for telling the truth: Palestinians are the Muslims orphaned not by Israel but by the entire Muslim world itself. Land-grabs and permanent refugee camps are testament to such.

We must ask ourselves the difficult questions. Does Hamas, who prostitute their progeny in the service of terror, represent Islam? Is Hamas emulating our Prophet as they rain rockets on unarmed, civilian, non-combatants? Do their Fajr missiles, named after Muslim prayers no less, encompass the spirit of Islam as was revealed to its followers? Do Hamas’ stated goals – including elimination of Israel – represent coexistence with the People of the Book, who are cherished in the Quran as dear to God and their Messenger, Moses, particularly admired by our Maker for his courage in the face of fear?

Don’t be fooled by Hamas’ words Muslims; we have a duty to judge them on their vile deeds.

If Islam is to truly thrive, it will only do so when more and more anti-Islamist Muslims confront and extinguish radical Islamist ideologues. Otherwise, we stand to lose both Israel and Islam in one fell swoop of the Islamist axe. Whether rescuing Palestinians and Israelis captive to the whim of Hamas, or rescuing Islam from Islamist Hamas, this is truly our jihad and no one else’s, which is why Israel’s jihad is also mine.

Qanta Ahmed is a physician and author of In the Land of Invisible Women; Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion; @MissDiagnosis; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/qanta-ahmed/

See also:

State Department’s Continued Outreach to Radicals

788_largeby Abha Shankar

The Obama administration’s efforts to conquer hearts and minds in the Muslim world as part of its broader strategy to battle Islamist terrorism may be a laudable goal. But the administration’s continued pandering to radical Islamists both at home and abroad continues to baffle and frustrate opponents of political Islam and Islamist organizations.

The administration has been swift to embrace newly-elected Islamist regimes in the Middle-East despite their violent and pro-jihadi rhetoric. Last month for example, it heaped praise on Egypt’s new Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi for helping broker a truce between Israel and Hamas after eight days of fighting. In lauding Morsi, the U.S. government overlooked statements supporting Hamas issued by Morsi’s colleagues in the Muslim Brotherhood and their celebration of rocket attacks on Israel. Morsi was a senior Brotherhood official for years before seeking office.

This international outreach to authoritarian Islamist regimes bestows undue legitimacy on Islamists and renders democratic and secular opposition and dissident groups voiceless. The same flawed outreach is being pursued domestically.

The latest example comes from a State Department-sponsored delegation last year of five Bulgarian Muslims who came to discuss the role of religion in the United States. Details of the trip, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs under its International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), were obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The delegation hoped to “learn about the environment of religious tolerance in the U.S. and how religious groups function in a democratic society with a separation of church and state,” records in the 379-page FOIA release show. It described meetings the delegation had with leading Islamist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and individuals in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Chicago from Sept. 26-Oct. 14, 2011.

This is a problem that has been detailed before. Rather than seeking views from the broader, more diverse Muslim American community, government officials grab at “the lowest hanging fruit,” said Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix-based doctor who heads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “But they ignore ideological diversity and instead take the shortcut of generally allowing those Muslims who are part of a national and global political Islamist movement to represent our faith community.”

“When confronted the White House and State Department will say that the ideological positions of Muslim groups is not their concern,” added Jasser, whose appointment this year to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom sparked ire among Islamists.

Jasser also blamed political correctness for the government’s flawed outreach policy:

“In part this also happens out of an absurd degree of political correctness and in part because these organizations have been very successful at branding themselves as the ‘voice of the Muslims.’ Even our National Strategy on Counterterrorism has been hijacked by this behavior, where it references the word ideology over 20 times but never names the ideology. The truth is that there is not and will never be one Muslim voice. We are a very diverse community….”

Jasser’s views were echoed by Qanta Ahmed, a New York-based physician and ardent critic of radical Islam.

The government’s failure to distinguish “Islam” from “political Islam” and its “willful engagement with non-violent Islamists” has resulted in the Islamists “owning the narrative,” she said. In congressional testimony given in June, she also highlighted the threat Islamist ideology poses to the American democracy:

“While we have been pursuing conventional international warfare and in fact have assassinated the leader of Al Qaida for instance, we have remained dangerously vulnerable because of our delayed realization of the political science aspects of Islamist ideology and the very serious threat this poses to our democracy,” Ahmed said. She described threats to free speech in the debate over radical Islam due to threats of litigation and false claims of bigotry that are used to stifle other points of view. Already, due to Islamist influence, the U.S. government has stopped using words like “Islamist” and “radical Islam.”

“This sanitization of our lexicon reveals a shocking and perhaps specious reluctance to engage with the problem or worse, a foolhardy embrace, unintentional or otherwise, with the Islamist stance,” Ahmed said.

“These are vulnerabilities which cannot be safeguarded by drones, or gunships but instead must be secured by counter ideological warfare which begins here, by widening the debate, discussion and scholarship in the area.”

Read more at IPT

See also:

Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood (counterjihadreport.com)